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Thursday, January 21, 1999


How does a bribe differ from an 'incentive'?

Gifts given to International Olympic Committee members are called "bribes." The $300,000 we gave to "Wheel of Fortune" is called "incentive money." Huh?

Linda Ryan
(Via the Internet)

More bike lanes, respect are needed for bicyclists

Gabrielle L. Makuakane is correct: She SHOULD be able to walk safely on the sidewalk (Letters, Jan. 12). That is why there is a law about bicycles on sidewalks. The solution is not to make the sidewalks wider; bicycles belong on the street.

It would help, however, to add the bike lanes shown in the Bike Master Plan. We must push to have the plan implemented. Also, when driving, we must treat bicyclists with respect. Let them have enough space to ride. Then bicyclists will be able to leave the sidewalks to the pedestrians.

As a bicyclist and a board member of the Hawaii Bicycling League, I apologize to Makuakane for her problems. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians must treat each other with the aloha that everyone deserves.

James Swedberg
(Via the Internet)

Republicans were wrong to boycott Clinton's speech

Last night the president and the Democrats focused on real-life needs of working families while Republicans found themselves bogged down in an impeachment crusade.

Although the GOP constantly claims that the attempt to oust President Clinton has nothing to do with politics, a number of them chose to make it very political by boycotting the State of the Union address. Their comments would have the public believe the State of the Union is some kind of campaign rally, overlooking the fact that the Constitution of the United States requires the president to make this report to Congress.

It's time for Republicans in the House and Senate to stop playing this senseless political game and get down to the business of the people.

Ken Armstrong
(Via the Internet)

Hoag did not sell out to gay-marriage allies

Mary Polly's charge that I "surrendered to gay marriage proponents" (Letters, Jan. 16) is false. In the Star-Bulletin's Jan. 6 story I am quoted as saying, "Our group awaits to see the full scope of the governor's bill before we pass judgment on its merits."

While I respect Dan Foley as an astute attorney, we find ourselves with very little in agreement. In response to a Star-Bulletin reporter, I simply answered in the affirmative:

1) Are you pleased the governor is not proposing adoption/parental rights in his (unrevealed) domestic partnership bill?

2) Would you be pleased to see the community come together on this issue?

If these answers constitute "surrender," I plead guilty.

A follow-up article by the same reporter on Jan. 15 quoted me as follows, "John Hoag feels no urgency to head back to the Legislature...Hoag said he would prefer that the governor focus on improving the reciprocal beneficiaries law...The danger with establishing domestic partnerships is that it would set up gays and lesbians as a special class."

Many of us have struggled with this divisive issue for years. We welcome the involvement of newcomers, but they should do their homework before rushing to judgment.

Jack Hoag

Judge Simms' decisions warrant dismissal

Regarding the Jan. 13 article, "Prosecutor blasts judge's decision," about Judge Sandra A. Simms, isn't it ironic that our system of government allows us the means to remove the president from office, but leaves us no recourse for removing a faulty Circuit Court judge from the bench?

When is Simms' retention hearing? Hopefully, there will not be too many more years of such gross mismanagement in our judicial system.

Lehua Ecumene

Vocal minority must not triumph over majority

Well, another year has passed and yet another call for a "total ban" on fireworks has been made. It is apparent, by the thousands of legal fireworks set off on New Year's Eve, that the people of Hawaii want to carry on a centuries-old tradition. It is a "local custom" passed down from generation to generation.

Now, the highest-ranking Democrat in the state, the "local boy" from Kalihi who ran a "local-style" campaign and touted "local culture, customs and tradition" in many of his rallies, is calling for a total ban on the use of pyrotechnics by the general public.

In my 65 years in Hawaii, firecrackers have always been a part of my Chinese family's traditional New Year's celebration. Any law dealing with fireworks must take into account such cultural significance and attempt to balance them with safety issues.

A ban on fireworks would just be another Big Brother intrusion into our lives, another attempt to tell us what to do. Such a ban was attempted in the past, under then-Mayor Eileen Anderson, and it didn't work. It would only create a black market for fireworks and the problem would still exist.

Anything in this modern world (i.e. cars, planes, computers, pesticides, cigarettes, matches, guns, alcohol, people) can be a health hazard, a danger, a fire hazard and affect as many people as fireworks do.

Don't we have more pressing matters to deal with? Let's work on the economy, our school system, job creation and budget shortfalls. Leave a state tradition alone. Don't let the vocal minority outshout the silent majority.

Marie Goo
(Via the Internet)

City should tax fireworks and fine all offenders

With the city scrambling to find revenues, government officials have overlooked one source of funding. Why not tax fireworks at about 33 percent ?

Since the police and fire departments have to respond to all calls concerning the reckless and illegal use of fireworks, they should get all the taxes generated. There should also be a stiff financial penalty for the illegal use and sale of fireworks.

Using Wahiawa as a gauge for the rest of the island, Hawaii should generate a pretty hefty sum even though it would be only twice a year -- on New Year's and the Fourth of July. It is now 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve and I feel like I am in Beirut.

Janet Perry
(Via the Internet)

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